MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis judge has denied the motion to remove the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office from the case of death-row inmate Pervis Payne.
Payne’s lawyers filed the motion to have the DA’s office removed from the case earlier this month.
Payne’s lawyers argued there was a conflict of interest by one of the DA’s prosecutors, Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Steve Jones. Lead attorney Kelley Henry argued Jones worked as a capital case attorney during the time frame in which Payne’s case was pending in post-conviction.
At the time, Jones responded to the motion and stated he did not work on Payne’s case as a capital case attorney.
Friday, a Shelby County judge denied the motion on the grounds that Payne’s attorneys filed to established that Jones “performed personal and substantial work on Mr. Payne’s case while serving as capital case attorney” or that he “otherwise received confidential case information during his employment as capital case attorney.”
The judge ruled there is no conflict of interest that would disqualify Jones or the DA’s office removed from the case.
However, the judge also ruled the DA’s office has not complied with certain rules in regards to the “composition of written screening measures” for another prosecutor. The judge has ordered the DA’s office to comply within 30 days.
If the DA’s office doesn’t comply, the judge says the court would be willing to hear a new motion to disqualify it from Payne’s case.